India acts tough; warns strong retaliation to foil intrusions

Onus of de-escalation rests with Pak
Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Apr 27: As Pakistan suffered massive losses on the Line of Control (LoC) in Padhar sector opposite Sunderbani in Rajouri district and prior to that across Shahpur and Krishna Ghati sectors of Poonch, Pakistan’s Director General of Military Operations, in an unusual move, suddenly contacted his Indian counterpart Lt Gen Anil Chauhan and called for restraint on the LoC.
At least five Pakistanis including three troops were reported killed in retaliation by the Indian troops in Padhar sector, opposite Sunderbani, in Rajouri district prompting Pakistan to establish the telephonic contact at 6.30 pm today, which came after a gap of several months and was “rare and very significant’’ in view of ongoing tension on the LoC especially in the twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri.
An official handout posted on twitter by the ADGPI said the Indian Army took tough stand and the DGMO told Pakistan in categoric terms that it would take all “retaliatory measures’’ to foil infiltration attempts, aided and abetted by Pakistan and that there can be no compromise on this.
India conveyed in very strong terms to Pakistan that support to terrorism by its army, by facilitating infiltration attempts by the militants on the LoC, was “totally unacceptable’’ and “will not be tolerated at any cost’’ and that India will continue to take all retaliatory measures to ensure that the militants don’t manage to infiltrate.
Asserting that onus of de-escalation along the LoC rests with Pakistan, the Indian side called upon the neighbour to stop supporting terrorists and end unprovoked ceasefire violations, which were aimed at giving cover to the infiltrators, who have been camping at launch pads on Pakistan side of the LoC.
The unscheduled interaction over the hot line took place this evening following a request by Pakistan, sources said adding the Pakistani DGMO alleged that Indian security forces had resorted to unprovoked firing along the LoC.
“Indian Army DGMO emphatically stated that retaliatory firing by Indian troops has only been carried out in response to unabated support given by Pakistan Army to armed terrorists who infiltrate across the border and target Indian Army posts with heavy caliber weapons,” sources said.
They added that Lt Gen Chauhan further conveyed to his Pakistan counterpart that support to terrorism by Pakistan Army can’t be tolerated and Pakistani will have to end all this for restoration of peace and de-escalation of tension on the LoC.
The LoC in Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed a spurt in ceasefire violations by the Pakistani troops in the last few months and the Indian Army has been retaliating effectively to Pakistani actions.
Earlier, at least three Pakistani soldiers were killed and seven others injured in retaliatory firing by the Indian troops at Padhar sector in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), opposite Sunderbani sector of Rajouri district. Two Pakistani civilians were trapped in exchange of shelling between Indo-Pak troops and got killed.
Pakistan today summoned India’s Deputy High Commissioner J P Singh to protest against “unprovoked” ceasefire violations by Indian forces along the Line of Control (LoC) in which Pakistan suffered five casualties.
Pakistan’s Foreign Office (FO) said in a statement that Director General (South Asia & SAARC) Mohammad Faisal summoned Singh over “unprovoked ceasefire violations” on the LoC in Padhar sector.
Sources told the Excelsior that as Pakistani troops continued to violate ceasefire on the LoC in Sunderbani sector directly targeting the civilian population, the Indian side retaliated effectively to silence their guns. Also, there were reports that Pakistan army was trying to push a group of militants into the Indian territory under the cover of shelling and firing.
In retaliation by the Indian troops, three Pakistan army personnel were killed in Padhar sector of PoK, opposite Sunderbani sector of Rajouri, while seven others were injured. Sources said that condition of all seven injured was stated to be critical and number of fatal casualties on Pakistan side could go up.
“The Indian side, as usual, didn’t target civilian areas of Pakistan and confined their shelling to defence locations of Pakistan as well as the suspected launch pads of the militants, where the militants could be hiding, waiting for an opportunity to sneak-in. However, two civilians on Pakistan side were trapped in the cross-firing and got killed while couple of others were injured,’’ sources said.
There were no reports of any casualties or damage on the Indian side.
Last week, four Pakistan army troops were killed opposite Shahpur and Krishna Ghati sectors of Poonch district, sources said, adding the retaliation by the Indian side has been necessitated to silence the Pakistani guns from targeting civilian areas as well as prevent any kind of infiltration attempts by the militants on the LoC.
Pakistan said their 23 troops have been killed and 107 injured this year in retaliation by the Indian side.
It also urged India to permit the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) to play its mandated role as per UN Security Council resolutions.
India maintains that the UNMOGIP has outlived its utility and is irrelevant after the Shimla Agreement and the consequent establishment of the Line of Control.
Meanwhile, troops continued to maintain very high alert all along the LoC in view of the reports that Pakistan army was getting desperate to push infiltrators into the Indian territory and with melting of snow, it could intensify intrusions bids all along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Our troops are on high alert following reports that number of militants has significantly gone up at the launch pads on Pakistan side of the LoC,’’ sources said, adding that Army was determined to thwart all intrusion bids. Few days back, couple of infiltration attempts were foiled on the LoC. Prior to that, four militants, who had managed to sneak-in were killed near Sunderbani town.